Journey into the Night
- 1h 21min
Dr Eigil Borne is engaged to Hélène, a girl who is madly in love with him. At Hélène's birthday celebration, Eigil invites her to a cabaret, where he meets his other love, Lily, a passionate... Read allDr Eigil Borne is engaged to Hélène, a girl who is madly in love with him. At Hélène's birthday celebration, Eigil invites her to a cabaret, where he meets his other love, Lily, a passionate, fiery and funny dancer.Dr Eigil Borne is engaged to Hélène, a girl who is madly in love with him. At Hélène's birthday celebration, Eigil invites her to a cabaret, where he meets his other love, Lily, a passionate, fiery and funny dancer.
Which can be seen in 'Journey into the Night'. It is a watchable film and its best things are truly great. It did strike me as very uneven however and while it certainly feels more like a Murnau film than 'The Haunted Castle' did for instance, 'Journey into the Night' is really not one of the best representations of Murnau. It is another lesser effort, having seen this and 'The Burning Soil' back to back, and with a feeling that Murnau had not yet fully found his comfort zone.
'Journey into the Night' does have good things. It looks good, with gorgeously framed and quite eerie cinematography. Also standing out visually are the settings, very naturalistic and extravagant, captured by a cinematographer who clearly loved them. There are some truly gorgeous images throughout, especially in the last quarter. Murnnau's direction is spot on when it comes to the visuals and the atmosphere, which at the best of times has an eeriness and also a poignancy.
The final quarter has the passion and emotional impact that was not present enough in the rest of the film. The final intertitle is poetic and moving. Along with the production values, the best thing about 'Journey into the Night' is the mesmerising Conrad Veidt, passionate and unsettling.
It is a shame that the rest of the acting is too over the top, borderline hammy and static in character interaction, just to say that acting in silent film could be subtle (like with Dorothy and Lillian Gish) and wasn't always stagy so am going to disagree with anybody that says that that style of acting was a product of the time. The characters are not particularly well developed and are either bland or unlikeable taken to extremes, Veidt's is the only interesting one and much of it is down to Veidt's performance.
While excelling in the visuals and atmosphere, Murnau falls short when it comes to story momentum and character interaction. The character interaction is static and lacking in passion and the pacing creaks with sluggishness frequently. The story is not as slight as those for 'The Haunted Castle' and 'The Burning Soil', but it still feels meandering and over-stretched on the most part. Structurally it is agreed and even for an early silent and for this genre the melodrama is too overwrought and old-fashioned. Apart from the final one, the intertitles are too rambling.
Summing up, watchable but namely for curiosity. Murnau went on to do much better. 5/10.
- Apr 14, 2021